By Alternative Jewish Voices and Wellington Palestine.
This blog post is based on the text of a briefing sent to the Hon Nanaia Mahuta, incoming Minister of Foreign Affairs, in November 2020.
In 2016 New Zealand sponsored a United Nations Security Council resolution (adopted December 2016), which reaffirmed that Israel’s settlements in Palestinian territory, occupied by Israel since 1967, have no legal validity, constitute a flagrant violation under international law and are “a major obstacle to the vision of two States living side-by-side in peace and security, within internationally recognized borders.”
Consistent with this Resolution, the UN General Assembly and Security Council, the International Court of Justice, the International Committees of the Red Cross, human rights and legal NGOs all agree that International Humanitarian Law and the laws of occupation apply in full throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
The duty of states like New Zealand, and one of the first duties of the occupying power, Israel, is to uphold the rights of the occupied people of Palestine. The rights of Palestinians to freedom, justice and equality.
Palestinian experiences of the occupation and the aspirations of Palestinians for the future of their State should be at the centre of New Zealand’s foreign policy in this area.
Today, we must live up to this legacy – we must not be silent on the rights of Palestinians. The COVID-19 pandemic is demonstrating the structural deterioration of Palestine’s most basic infrastructure and prospects. It is urgent that we act.
As Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said in her address to the UN General Assembly, at the Nelson Mandela Peace Summit in 2018, “We must not be silent in the face of intolerance, hate and discrimination. We must speak for those who do not have a voice. We must pursue equal rights for all.”
Aotearoa New Zealand is proud of its record as a moral actor on the international stage on issues like nuclear non-proliferation and the solidarity shown by ordinary New Zealanders, and ultimately the New Zealand Government, in the fight against apartheid in South Africa.
OUR CALL TO ACTION
We, New Zealanders of Muslim, Jewish, Christian and other identities, urge our Government to:
- Uphold international law and condemn the illegal occupation of the Palestinian territories.
- Call for an end to the blockade of Gaza.
- Recognise the state of Palestine.
- Adopt an approach to foreign policy that respects Palestine as a partner.
- Act to end the detention and abuse of Palestinian child prisoners.
ADD YOUR VOICE
The full briefing is here.